Zune HD gets firmware update for better browsing, prep for 3D gaming

The Zune HD has been given a firmware update, moving it from V4.1 to 4.3. We were not-so-secretly hoping the first update (or second, if you're counting the initial one on launch) would enable a hidden 3D World-band phone inside, Bluetooth and a speakerphone. But that's just us being a little crazy.

Instead, here's the official line, as cribbed from the Zune forums:

Zune HD firmware update: Today we released the v4.3 firmware update for Zune HD players; this update adds support for upcoming 3d games and applications, as well as an auto-suggest feature for better text input, and other minor improvements. Enjoy!

And digging through the forums, we're also seeing:

  • Much-improved Web browsing, both in speed and rendering. You can toggle between desktop and mobile. And there's now a landscape keyboard. (Huzzah)
  • New display settings for video out. You can choose HDMI Auto, 720p or 480p in addition to compositie video.

Get the update by connecting your Zune, then going to Settings>Device>Player Update. And after the break, instructions for those with 16GB Zune HD's who may not be seeing the update

Side-by-side browser test on the HD2, iPhone and Acer neoTouch

Browser wars are a favorite pastime among smartphone nerds, and here we have a battle royale from Solopalmari featuring the iPhone, the HTC HD2 and the Acer neoTouch (don't expect to see that one in the states anytime soon). Of course, this test isn't really indicative of anything other than showing how fast each browser is on each phone — we'll leave the "best!" comments up to you guys in the comments.

Via Mobile Tech World and wmpoweruser

Tip of the Week: IE "Home Page", the Real One.

We all know (hopefully) that on a WM Pro device you can set the Internet Explorer homepage to anything you want. But what many don't remember was Microsoft actually made a useful homepage that on a lot of devices is disabled. Reason? Many carriers (cough, Sprint) set their "portal" as the default Home Page. Blech.

Today, we'll take it back.

Why you ask? This makes PIE on WM6.x more like WM Standard. You get a search bar, plus a quick drop down list to your favorites and history. At least for myself, I tend to find this very useful.

So here's how to do it:

  • Open Internet Explorer
  • In the address bar, type in: file://\windows\default_0409.htm
  • Menu --> Tools --> Options
  • Home page --> "Use Current"


Internet Explorer "6 on 6" Won't Be a Separate Download; Emulator Released


One topic we've been discussing here at WMExperts (especially our podcasts) is whether or not the new Mobile Internet Explorer, aptly dubbed "6 on 6", will be available as a separate download or update for current generation devices. After all, it doesn't seem too difficult, but whaddya we know?

Turns out the answer is "no"

From the Windows Mobile Team Blog, "Khush" who says he from the Windows Mobile team, states:

Regarding making IE Mobile available as a separate download or update, the rich media experiences that IE Mobile 6 enables require more powerful, advanced devices. That is why it will not be available as an upgrade or direct download for current phones, but rather will be made available on new phones.

Not written in stone of course, but doesn't look good for most current devices. Looks good though for the expected Sprint Treo Pro, which we expect early next year.

Other tidbits:

IE Mobile 6 is expected to show up in devices at the end of 2008 or early 2009.
...although this release is called Internet Explorer Mobile 6, there are components from other versions of Internet Explorer for the desktop. One example of that is the support for Jscript v5.7 which we brought over from Internet Explorer 8 for the desktop.

Of course the big news though is MS announced the emulator and demoed the new, richer MIE. So for developers or those curious, get the emulator here.

More at the WM Team Blog

Thanks Yirk!

Internet Explorer Mobile 6 caught on video

Brave soul Brandon over at Pocketnow has been playing with a cooked Windows Mobile 6.5 ROM on an HTC Touch HD and is sharing his experience with the new Internet Explorer Mobile. And aside from needing two and three touches to do some of the basic functions, it definitely could look worse.

It's definitely a step up from what we're used to from the stock Windows Mobile browser. But the question is: Will it be able to keep up with future revisions of Opera 9.5 and Skyfire?

More Details on MIE 6: China's First

Seems like PC World got a chance to write a bit of a fluff piece on Microsoft's new upcoming mobile web browser for WM (see past coverage here), while a lot of it is good for a chuckle, some interesting bits came out:

  • Requires 128MB of RAM, and a 400MHz processor
  • Still won't be a separate download (device needs ROM flash)
  • First release will be on phones with mobile operator China Mobile "sometime in 2009"

Also, they got some insight from Web developer Bruce Lawson, with the non-profit Web Standards Project, who had some not so pleasent words about the new browser after he put it through the wringer (spoiler alert: it didn't do well):

"...This is a terrible situation," he wrote. "Twenty percent of the world's population [China] are being offered an ancient, discredited browser."

Ouch--don't hold back Bruce!  Read more for some of the nitty-gritty.

Microsoft deep-sixes Deepfish; IE 6 pics surface

Back before Opera Mobile became an everyday alternative to Internet Explorer, and long before we'd ever heard of Skyfire (go get it now!), there lived a little beta named Deepfish.

This little guy was going to swim the deepest, darkest Internet oceans as no mobile browser had before - rendering full Web pages on your Windows Mobile device. That's pretty standard stuff these days with the Opera 9.5 and Skyfire betas, but we were pretty excited at the time.

But the number of Deepfish beta testers was pretty limited, and it largely fell off everyone's radar. Witness: Microsoft put the gaff to Deepfish more than a month ago, and we're all just now noticing. [via]

Meanwhile, The Unwired earlier this week took IE 6 for a spin. (See a pic above.) Again, chances are you'll be completely comfortable with Opera or Skyfire by the time this is released, but it's release is important nonetheless, given that it's supposed to tide us over until the delayed Windows Mobile 7 is launched in the second half of next year.